Sporting Events and Terrorism
In the United States “lone-wolf terrorism” or “individual terrorism” has been regarded as a serious threat to public safety in recent years. A disgruntled citizen, combined with a primitive weapon system against a soft target, will likely achieve success if security, preparedness, and intelligence measures are not effectively put in place. The goals of preparedness, regardless of the event, should be: (1) know what to do in the aftermath of a disaster; (2) know how to do it; (3) exercise your pre-approved response plan as closely as possible; (4) be equipped with the right tools to do it effectively; and (5) compile lessons learned and areas of improvement for distribution and future use. As is true with the emergency manager and first responders in a community, members of the general public need information and training if they are to know what is best to do before, during, and after emergencies occur.
If the populace, first responders, and governmental entities are working in unison prior to an emergency, a smoother response and recovery phase will likely be the result. It will be necessary to have a set of policies and procedures in place to dictate what is or what is not suspicious behavior and what the response should be if these policies are broken. These policies and procedures for the stadium must be strictly enforced. It is impossible to eliminate all risks; however, one cannot allow fans to breach any security policies and procedures which might compromise people inside the stadium. Policies to control fan conduct, alcohol, access to the stadium, tailgating, parking, and prohibited items are some examples.
Once policies and procedures are established, it will be necessary to train security staff on them. Without proper training, all security planning processes will be useless. Management must invest in the training of the security personnel since they need to be knowledgeable in the areas that apply to their roles and responsibilities. Security employees need to be trained in emergency response procedures, evacuation procedures, information that constitute threats, hazardous materials, how to use emergency equipment, and how to conduct a shutdown procedure, just to name a few.
The following contributed to the writing of this piece:
Harrell, B. M., Crockford, K., Boisrond, P., Tharp-Hernandez, S., & Parker, S., (2010). Small to mid-size sporting events: Are we prepared to recover from an attack? Journal of Strategic Security 3 (2), 53-62.
Retrieved from http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1013&context=jss
By Dr. Vincent K. Ramsey
Dr. Ramsey is the Chair of Sports Exercise Science at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at email@example.com.